How do we feel about this new plagiarism allegation against Childish Gambino’s “This is America?”

Childish Gambino‘s (aka Donald Glover) “This Is America” is one of the most powerful songs and videos of the last decade. Glover is now being accused of ripping off a Florida rapper named Kidd Wes.

Wes (real name: Emelike Wesley Nwosuocha) uploaded a song called “Made in America” to SoundCloud on September 11, 2016, and was released on an album entitled Eleven: The Junior Senior Year on May 24, 2017. “This is America” appeared on May 5, 2018.

The lawsuit, filed on on Thursday (May 6), say that the “This Is America” is “glaringly similar” to “Made in America.” I quote: “The substantial similarities between both songs include, but are not limited to, nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic compositional and performance content contained in the chorus—or ‘hook’—sections that are the centerpieces of both songs.”

Pitchfork followed up and got this statement from Wes’ attorneys: “The similarities between the two pieces of music are beyond coincidental, and amounts to infringement, as alleged in the complaint filed by our client, Emelike Nwosuocha, professionally known as Kidd Wes. Mr. Nwosuocha is confident in his claims, and simply seeks the credit and compensation he deserves for the unauthorized use of his music.”

The suit seeks damages in 43 areas, including record sales, endorsements, and all other incomes. In other words, it’s swinging for the fences.

Let’s compare, starting with “This is America.”

And now, Kidd Wess’ “Made in America.”

For the record, a New York rapper named Jase Harley claimed that Glover “stole” the music for “This is America” from his song, “American Pharoah,” which was also released in 2016. Nothing ever came of these claims after Glover’s lawyers noted that dates on computer files that went into creating “This is America” dated back to 2015.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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